2020 Geminid Meteor Shower

Seen any good fireballs lately?
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Christopher K.
Posts: 5774
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

2020 Geminid Meteor Shower

Post by Christopher K. »

The Geminid meteor shower lasts this year from 1 December to 22 December. HRPO personnel are planning to have the facility open from 9pm to 1am on the peak night of Sunday 13 December. The only government property in EBR Parish people are allowed to use for viewing this event is probably the Highland Road Park Observatory. HRPO is definitely the only BREC property on which people can be for the Geminids. The viewing session has no admission fee and all ages are allowed.

The waning crescent Moon will be below the horizon during the entire viewing session; Mars, the Plieades and the Orion Nebula will grace the skies. At 12:55am CST, the bright Southern Hemisphere star Canopus (F-class) will shine with a fierce glow just a few degrees off the horizon due south.

One should lie comfortably on the ground on a blanket or tarp that can get dirty. Alternatively, use a lawn chair or some other reclining chair. Most of the time, one should keep the head angled to a point about halfway to two-thirds from horizon to zenith.

General tips for viewing meteors include...
*Dress warmly. You'd be surprised how much body heat you lose while immobile (especially in the winter).
*Do not consume alcohol of any sort. Even before consumption has given you a "buzz", it has hindered night vision.
*Do not allow your electronic device (flip phone, smart phone, tablet etc.) to glow in your eyes unless you can have it glow red and faint. There will be instructions inside the main building for setting iPhones and Androids to a red-light display.
*Do not take your eyes off the sky! Even the slowest meteors are quite fast. Talk and socialize if desired, but everyone around should understand that searching for meteors is taking precedent.
*Do not break any laws or ignore any basic safety principles to increase the chance of seeing more meteor streaks; it's not worth it.

If you choose to view from your private property, make advanced plans to extinguish any personal outer lights and to request that any neighbors do the same. If you have a civic or homeowners' association, consider making a motion to adopt a policy to switch to and maintain full cut-off (FCO) lighting year-round; this will make your neighborhood perpetually "ready" for viewing meteors in the night sky. (That permanent setup will also help views of comets, star clusters, nebulae and even the Milky Way Galaxy!)

Please do not go anywhere for which you've not been given permission, or anywhere that is unsafe.
Christopher K.
Posts: 5774
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Geminid Meteor Shower

Post by Christopher K. »

The Geminids are a good meteor shower for young kids as the shower begins quite early after nightfall. Keep in mind that if Daylight Time were extended all year round, kids would have to wait "a hour later" for the show to begin.

Below is the current NOAA forecast for HRPO's planned Geminid viewing time of 9pm Sunday to 1am Monday...
precipitation potential, 26%
sky cover, 47%
relative humidity, 85%
temperature, 10˚C
wind chill, 8˚C
surface wind, N 12 km/h

If this forecast holds, HRPO personnel may cut the viewing by as much as an hour--even more if it begins to rain.

More information:
https://astronomy.com/news/sky-events/2 ... hower-2020
https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-n ... or-shower/
https://www.amsmeteors.org/2020/12/view ... r-in-2020/
https://www.spaceweather.com/images2017 ... skymap.png
Christopher K.
Posts: 5774
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: 2020 Geminid Meteor Shower

Post by Christopher K. »

Below is the NOAA forecast for HRPO's planned viewing time of 9pm to 1am...
precipitation potential, 24%
sky cover, 87%
relative humidity, 89%
temperature, 16˚C
surface wind, NW 21 km/h

Danko's Clear Dark Sky states that during HRPO's viewing time both the transparency rating and the seeing rating will be "too cloudy to forecast" (0 out of 5).

HRPO's front gate will be open at 8:15pm, and the main building will be open at 8:30pm. HRPO will close at 12am; if it begins to rain anytime after 9pm, HRPO will close immediately.

The 13 December 2020 rating is...
EXCELLENT
VERY GOOD
GOOD
FAIR
POOR
BAD

It is strongly recommended that no one visit HRPO if the necessary driving route passes through rain or fog.
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